Stephen Hawking tributes pour in: 'Funny, perverse, brilliant'

The world-acclaimed physicist changed how we look at the universe -- and inspired everyone from scientists to actors to others who simply admired his genius.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper

As news of famed physicist Stephen Hawking's death at age 76 spread Tuesday night, friends and fans of the great scientist were quick to mourn and remember him on social media.

Some of the tributes came from famous names in their own right.

Many remarked on Hawking's remarkable brainpower, and many shared memorable quotes from the physicist.

While Hawking easily solved intellectual problems, physical challenges proved a tougher opponent. He was diagnosed at just 21 with a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis known as Lou Gehrig's disease that gradually paralyzed him. He got around via wheelchair and spoke through a computer system operated with his cheek.

Many took inspiration from Hawking's continuing to learn and work despite his physical limitations.

There was a certain scientific symmetry in Hawking's birth and death dates.

First published March 13, 9:45 p.m. PT. 
Update, 10 p.m. PT: Adds more reactions.